The Anonymous Widower

Summing Up Karlsruhe’s Tram-Trains

Karlsruhe invented the tram-train and running them under the Karlsruhe model.

It’s a bit like having a vehicle that can go anywhere in your city carrying a couple of hundred people, where there is a railway or tram track.

The only other vehicle that offers a similar flexibility is a bus, but buses are less eco-friendly and they are difficult to make all electric.

Karlsruhe incidentally, only seems to have a few buses and you will notice in Building A Tram-Train Tunnel In Karlruhe, how few cars and taxis there are. So are all the people on foot or in the tram-trains?

Surely, the great thing about a tram-train network like Karlsruhe, is that once the main tracks are laid and electrified, as they will be in Karlsruhe, once the tunnel is open, your biggest improvements come by adding more and better vehicles to the routes.

I went to Karlsruhe to see The Latest Citylink Tram-Trains In Karlsruhe, as they are similar to those being introduced in Sheffield.

According to this article in the Internation Railway Journal, the city has just ordered another twenty five of these tram-trains.

On return from Dubrovnik I found this article on Global Rail News, which says that they’ve also ordered another twelve Flexity Swift tram-trains from Bombardier.

If you want to see what a low-floor Flexity-Swift looks like, go to Croydon. I don’t think that the London Tramlink could use tram-trains, as all the rail lines in South London are third-rail, but don’t underestimate engineers. You probably couldn’t have the automatic voltage changeover that you get with overhead wires.

Both these batches are low-floor, so expect one of the developments over the next few years in Karlsruhe is that more trams become low-floor. Obviously, some stations won’t be able to be modified, so the network probably won’t become 100% low-floor.

Are Karlsruhe playing this network expansion in a very canny way?

They now have a specification for a vehicle than can work all lines in its network.

  • Dual voltage of 750 VDC and 15 kVAC.
  • Low floor or adapted to railway and tram stations.
  • A defined loading gauge.
  • A preferred seating layout.

It strikes me that there will be several manufacturers, who would like to supply Karlsruhe, as they obviously know what works, as they invented the standard.

Karlsruhe also has the advantage in that the tram-trains they don’t want probably have a good residual value, as if say a city wants to built a tram-train network, provided that they obey Karlsruhe’s rules, then the tram-trains can be delivered and after testing, start a service.

The only problem is that Germany’s non-standard 15 kVAC may need to be changed to perhaps 25 KVAC. But that would probably be more affordable than buying a whole fleet of new tram-trains.

May 21, 2016 - Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , ,

1 Comment »

  1. Wonderful

    Comment by theitinerary1 | May 22, 2016 | Reply

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